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Do you think Congress should have let the ban on assault weapons expire?

Asked at Asked on Massachusetts Street on September 14, 2004

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Photo of Andrew Suddith

“Yes, if we went back to the original Jeffersonian reason to bear arms so as to enable us to overthrow a corrupt government.”

Photo of Almas Sayeed

“I don’t think so. I think there is a lot of good evidence that before the ban, the crime rate was higher and more people died.”

Photo of Peter Shank

“No. I’m against guns altogether. I want to get rid of them all.”

Photo of Frankie Lee Whitehorse

“Truthfully, they didn’t take the serial numbers before the ban went into effect, so they couldn’t identify the guns either way. In the end it doesn’t really matter.”


Adam 13 years, 7 months ago

You don't need an assault weapon to defend yourself. All it takes is a brain.

Brian Sandefur 13 years, 7 months ago

"Contest of wits".......................that's hilarious.

grilled_cheese 13 years, 7 months ago

Mini-Uzi, here I come, my TEC 9 needs a lil brother!!

Ummmm..... no.

jonas 13 years, 7 months ago

Robber breaks into house: Haha! I will now take all of your stuff, as I have this gun, and you do not.

Homeowner: I challenge you to a contest of wits!

Robber: To the death?

Homeowner: To the death!

Hmmm. . . improbable.

Savage 13 years, 7 months ago

Some people just dont like the second amendment. I guess thats just too bad huh? They wrote it to be interpreted and understood by laymen, and to be taken simply word for word at face value, not some complicated bs like some try to make it out to be. The only people who try to attack the "second right" are the ones that analyze every word...twist and turn their meanings with piles of dictionaries at their sides until they find a suitable meaning for it, which fits their own agenda. Thats just plain weak!

mrcairo 13 years, 7 months ago

The ban should stay. After all, nobody needs a Bushmaster to protect life and limb. I have a really sweet S&W .357 and I don't need a Military Assault Rifle to feel safe. It's not that bad out there folks.

The reality is a 30-30 Deer Rifle can cause as much or more damage and probably a bit more accurately than some of these assault rifles. So for those wanting fire-power go buy a 30-30. For those wanting a sexy, sleek, Rambo Assault Weapon ( not fire-arm ) to go with their Hummer, by all means then go buy a BushMaster.

And by the way, when was the last time you had to take up arms against the Government anyway? I mean it's not like this is a weekly occurance.

For the record, I'd love to have one of those AR-15's myself - they look cool. They fire off tons of rounds accurately, they're easy to tote, and look plain mean.

craigers 13 years, 7 months ago

I think they should have let the ban expire. These gun control bans only keep guns away from the people that obey the law and yesterday there was an article in the paper that said supporters of the ban originally are now not as supportive because there is no real evidence that it worked (that is reducing violent crime). And along with what Andrew said, unarmed citizens are defenseless against a corrupt government, unless you think that waving a sign, blocking traffic, and getting arrested are good defense systems. I don't think Andrew was saying that we should all carry guns all the time, but we should have the right to bear arms to defend ourselves. The ban was worthless and I think the Journal World proves their true colors when on the front page of the newspaper they show a picture of a Bushmaster XM-16, with labels trying to show people what these guns are capable of. Once again, an honest law abiding citizen isn't going to walk down the street with this type of weapon and have it decked out with all the accessories. I am suprised they didn't mention that you could get a firing mechanism that would make it fully auto. Oh no, we had better ban all guns! Whatever, way to push the liberal agenda of gun control LJWorld.

Savage 13 years, 7 months ago

are there not 20,000 laws on the books nationwide already?

Larry 13 years, 7 months ago

I have never seen a gun jump off the table and shoot a person. This comment may sound ludicious, but it is the truth. Alcohol related automobile accidents kill more people each year than guns do, yet no one is calling for the prohibition on alcohol to return. Regardless, it doesn't matter - the criminals who want the guns will get them. The only thing that this ban accomplished was to keep the weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. Personally, I don't own one of these previously banned weapons, but in terms of ownership of guns, I agree with Savage.

Larry 13 years, 7 months ago

Sorry - I intended to say ludicrous above, not ludicious. In a hurry while on break and didn't spell check.

Have a great day.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 7 months ago

Based upon yesterday's posts.....I have a feeling that mr_daniels (and mrs_daniels) are going give an emphatic "yes" to today's question.

And although I don't always share Mr. Wittmann's (acerbic?) wit, I do have to agree with him today regarding his comment about Frankie's appearance.

Say, might want to take those glasses ALL THE WAY OFF YOUR FACE the next time you have your picture taken. It'll make you look slightly less inebriated, I'm sure!

Also.....Peter (pictured above)....I'm with ya, guy!!! I really am! Together, why don't you and I set a target date (like one year from tomorrow) to get rid of EVERY GUN IN AMERICA---and then we'll all be safe from the thugs and criminals!! Of course, then we'll have to begin another crusade against knives and baseball bats, too, I guess.

David Ryan 13 years, 7 months ago

Savage: if the Second Amendment is so easy to understand, here's a challenge that should be easy for you: parse the sentence like school children can do, and show exactly what the grammar of the sentence is.

I'll do you the favor of providing the exact language of the amendment:

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Here are some questions to guide you: a) why is there a comma before the clause "shall not be infringed"?

b) Why does the sentence start with the phrase "A well regulated militia"?

Let's hear how simple it is to understand exactly what this sentence says and exactly what the framers of the constitution meant when they drafted it and revised it into its final, constitutional form.

bigcat 13 years, 7 months ago

Savage, I truly believe what Andrew is saying is out of pure sarcasm. When the "right to bare arms" came into play it was a different time and place. There are a lot of crazy laws out there that were meant for their time period, but have obviously been dated. Am I calling the right to bare arms a crazy law? No, but I do believe that the original intent of the law did not have fully automatic assault rifles, with no other use but to go on killing sprees, in mind. This is a debate that could rage on forever and it will, the second amendment is also something that I see that can never be changed, but just altered. I hunt, but I don't ever think that I will take out an AK-47 or fully automatic Uzi to hunt for deer. There is only one use for those weapons, and it isn't a good thing.
It is also annoying to me when people spout off and say the government doesn't have a right to take away my rights. Yes they do, it is called laws and they are made to better protect society. Now, even though I know this last comment will probably spark something on this board and some of you will go crazy I truly mean what I just said. No they shouldn't take away everything, but what is the true use of these weapons? It is the same reason we don't allow meth or crack to be legal. The drug doesn't just "jump of the table" but we know that there is no good use for them. Trust me I am the biggest believer in natural selection, but some things are just ridiculous.

craigers 13 years, 7 months ago

To bigcat- Just to inform you, automatic weapons have been outlawed for quite awhile. That has not changed. That is the common misconception with this ban. It says assault weapons, which really boils down to high-capacity magazines, but it doesn't include fully automatic weapons. Now that the ban has expired, you still won't be able to buy fully automatic weapons. If you are going to support this ban, please give us all some concrete evidence that this ban did its job and prevented violent crime. I think it is safe to say that if that evidence truly existed, then Congress would have been all over renewing the law/ban. Remember, assault weapon does not equal fully automatic rifles, which have been illegal before this ban went into action.

laser_gun 13 years, 7 months ago

I guess they stuck Andrew out in left field this week. People who are going to use these guns to do bad things are bad people. Bad people get bad things in bad ways. Laws are far the good people to remain good people NOT to make bad people good people. Bad people will still commit crime, regardless of the legal availability of weapons.

For fun, look at the crime statistics in Washington, D.C. before and after the ban, isn't that interesting.

me 13 years, 7 months ago

I agree with laser gun. Sickos are going to do what sickos are going to do. If they can't get a hold of a machine gun to do it, they'll do it with a revolver, rifle, shotgun, knife, bat, fists, or whatever. Banning the guns doesn't stop sick freaks from committing violent crimes, it just limits their choice of killing implement.

Biochem 13 years, 7 months ago

laser_gun, they didn't really stick me out in left field. I started out answering the question by saying that no the ban should not expire. However, I thought the benefits of the ban would be overly obvious to most people. So I took the opportunity to make a statement about the current administration. Andrew

jonas 13 years, 7 months ago

I'm going to have to side with Larry et al. on this one: the only thing the ban will accomplish is by giving criminals, who don't care and have illegal sources to get the weapons, the advantage over regular law-abiding folks. I hate guns, and I wish we could disinvent them, but as we can't they should be equally available to all people.

I do think we should keep them registered, though. And the waiting period is not a bad idea. I'm also in favor of some gun-education class before the first purchase.

Savage: DavidRyan is correct, the 2nd ammendment is much more vague in nature than you make it out to be. Though I agree with the point yo made yesterday (I think) that the purpose was to enable the people to overthrow the government should it become too fascist in nature.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 7 months ago

Jonas, in light of that last sentence of yours....."that the purpose was to enable the people to overthrow the government should it become too fascist in nature"...... Two things come to mind........ 1.) The Second Amendment states: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. What is a "well regulated militia", anyway? (I'm just asking, I'm not making a statement.) Does that refer to an "well-organized army" of some kind? Or does that refer to the "common folk" (like you and me), as it were? And "security of a free state"....does the Second Amendment help to protect American citizens from its own government---or some foreign government? Or both? 2.) As I am sure you are aware (and everyone else here on this post), there many here in this country, right now, who believe that George Bush/Dick Cheney et al. are fascists for the way they went about the whole Iraq situation. So....given your last sentence......does that mean that if someone thinks that the Bush Administration is out of control, then that person might want to be "well-armed", for their own personal protection against their perceived out-of-control government officials? In other words...If a person truly believes that the right to keep and bear arms helps to protect them against their own fascist-leaning government (like many believe our government is now), then they should start thinking about purchasing a gun (or two)? That's kind of ironic, don't you think? Ironic because, the more government control there is on guns, the easier it will be for a "fascist goverment" to hunt down (No pun intended!) those who have guns. I wouldn't want my "fascist government" to know that I had a gun, or how many guns I had, or what just exactly what kind I had at my disposal! And more and more governmental gun control over guns would help/has helped make that possible! Besides, wouldn't a fascist government try to outlaw guns first as best it could so as to make it easier to control the populace? The whole "fascist government thing" is intriguing because you would need guns to fight it, but how could you get them, and keep it a private matter, without the government knowing about it, with the way that the gun rules are now? Also, I think it's ironic that many of those who believe that our government is becoming too "fascist" in nature, are, for the most part, the very same people who are generally opposed to gun purchases/ownership of any kind.--And given what your last sentence said (if true), one would think that those very same people who truly believe in their hearts and minds that Bush/Cheney are fascists might want to rethink their views on guns---and go out and buy one (or two) if they know what's good for them! Right? BTW, everyone...I'm not making any sort of political statement...I'm just thinking out loud. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this!

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 7 months ago

I said "the right of the people" twice in my last post! Sorry! I guess I need another cup of coffee! (I'm still tired!)

jonas 13 years, 7 months ago

Hi-jinks: Perhaps I should rephrase, because you brought up good points. As I understand it, a great many of the amendments, perhaps all, were designed in direct response to the recent British occupations. The model for the well-regulated militia was probably the minute-men militias of the men in the towns that could band together to form an armed force to resist the British soldiers.

The other possibility, which is not exclusionary to the first, is that the goal of the second amendment was to provide states an insurance against the power (tyranny) of a central government. The founders were by and large terribly afraid of giving birth to a bloated, over-powerful central government. (I believe they would be absolutely disgusted with the situation as it stands today.)

Whether the context of the 2nd amendment is still relevent, and such, whether the amendment itself is still relevent are both up to question, in my mind. A well-regulated militia as the founders would have seen is sociologically impossible now, in my opinion. We are simply too cut off from our direct community (how many of your neighbors do you know well?) to form a militia, and the past events in Montana show how such a militia, even when formed is dealt with. As far as states rights go, that kind of flew out the window when Lincoln violently asserted central govt. policy as both mandatory and penultimate by both refusing to allow the southern states to secede, and refusing to let them run their govts. and economies as they felt necessary. (Stop those spinning heads! I think he did the right thing, but it did fly in the face of the founders original thoughts and intentions)

And, most obviously, when the 2nd amendment was written, it took a minute or two to load a single inaccurate shot. If the founders had known that in the future there would be availably weaponry that fired 200 plus accurate rounds per minute, they might have had different thoughts. Maybe not.

jonas 13 years, 7 months ago

Wow, that's kind of cool. If you click on someone's user name, you can look at everything they've posted to date, since registering their name!

Time to look at the lunacy of Lulu in totality!

Larry 13 years, 7 months ago


I've always thought that the second amendment was intended to maintain our democracy. Without private gun ownership, the country could turn into a communist society in a heartbeat. With private gun ownership, there is always the threat of private citizens rebelling from a government that attempts to change the laws in ways that would take our freedoms away. Now, before you liberals get after me here, I don't view the Patriot Act as an infringement on my rights and I don't believe that many others do either. I realize that there are some inconveniences when we move from one state to another, when we travel abroad, etc., but I think it is worth it because I believe we are more secure now than pre 9-11. In the end, weapons are NOT what they once were during revolutionary times. Back then, the weapons of the army were very similiar to the weapons of the private citizen. Now days, the weapons of the military are vastly different from the private citizen.

Charlie Bannister 13 years, 7 months ago

The so called "assault weapons ban" was a complete farce. These weapons had cosmetic changes made to the outside of them and were repackaged and sold anyway. Our crime rate is at a 30 year low, in spite of the fact that the assault weapons that were already in the system at the time the ban went into effect are still out there. The problem with guns is not with law abiding citizens anyway. It is with criminals who are continually let out of jail after committing violent gun crime. I think people who commit gun crimes need to be put into jail for the rest of their natural lives. I would gladly pay taxes to ensure their continued incarceration. This should not and should never include people who defend themselves or their families. By the way, we should have a conceal/carry law in this state, because every state that has enacted such a law has seen violent crime go down. England and Australia have a complete ban on guns now, and have seen their violent crime rates skyrocket. This should be teaching people something.

Adam 13 years, 7 months ago

Hey Jonas, statistics have shown that when a homeowner tries to retaliate against an intruder with a firearm it usually results in the death of the homeowner

Larry 13 years, 7 months ago


I guarantee you that if you break into my house, I won't miss and I won't be dead. I don't own an illegal weapon but I have enough to end an intruders life that threatens my family.

nicegirl 13 years, 7 months ago

The assault weapons ban was just put in place to give the people a false sense of security. As stated by Kosmo, the guns are simply changed slightly and redistributed on the market anyway. And what the heck is Wendt on??? Hope he/she doesn't have any assault weapons on hand. Lastly, to Larry: In response to your comment about protecting our democracy, if you actually study our government structure, we live in a socialist country. Not a democracy as many people incorrectly think. Have a great evening everyone!

Savage 13 years, 7 months ago

based on several comments here today, One may come to the conclusion that the amendment means ordinary citizens have the right to form militias, protect their freedoms ( and States), to carry guns and use them in self defense if they wish to do so, in the event of tyranny.

Consider this. Hypothetically China or some other superpower invades the US. Lets say their attack is comprised of 50 BIG missles and 20 million chinese paraptroopers. In that scenario, i think the amendment will be loosely interpreted... no? Any other scenario involving a government overthrow is too unfathomable to make a comment on. At least for me anyways.


Hi_Jinks 13 years, 7 months ago

To nicegirl: I was aware that we lived in a republic, not a democracy. Witness the last presidential election. We "democratically" elected our president (by popular vote)....and the popular vote was for Gore. However, because we are a "republic", our elected/selected "electors" (electoral college) voted for Bush! Bush wins! I bet Bush is glad we live in a republic! Anyway, this last presidential election exposed just how many Americans fail to realize that our great country is not a democracy (its run democratically) but it's in fact a ......REPUBLIC!

Also.....Savage, you just gave me an absolutely hilarious visual!!! 20 million Chinese paratroopers falling from the sky!!! Holy Cow!!! It'd look like a huge swarm of locust--only worse!!

Tamara 13 years, 7 months ago

I don't see what all the fuss is about. They only banned certain guns in the first place, not a specific type. So the companies that made the ones that were banned, were just cosmetically changed, and sold legaly. In conclusion, the ban was pointless to begin with. So whats the big deal?

Jay Bird 13 years, 7 months ago

Nothing says lovin more than a hot Uzi. Too bad you can't buy auto's. Unless you have a Class III Arms License. Which most of us don't. 30-30's are nice, but I'll stick with my AK. As for a .357, I wonder where that rounds is going to stop, in your neighbors house, maybe the kids room. Use a shotgun morons. If you must splatter a burgler, don't kill outsiders as well. I can just see some hick blasting away in a trailer park with a .357 and the round ending up 5 or 6 houses down. It all boils down to choice, don't take mine and I won't mess with yours.

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